CBD’s Anxiety-Relieving Properties
Improves Quality of Life!
For those who have never experienced anxiety, it can be difficult to understand how the mental disorder essentially blocks the brain from carrying out tasks that others may consider simple and even trivial. For instance, somebody with social anxiety may find it hard to order a meal at a restaurant, in fear of embarrassing themselves by tripping over their words or forgetting something. Evidently, being afflicted by such a condition makes it harder to go about day-to-day business and enjoy a high quality of life, as the brain is always getting in the way and over-complicating matters.
Both science and spirituality have proposed answers for anxiety, in the form of anti-anxiety drugs and meditation respectively. Interestingly, brain scans have shown that experienced meditators activate different parts of the brain than those who do not meditate. The process of meditation is aimed around keeping the mind either free of or in control of thoughts.
Medicine’s solution to anxiety has typically come in the form of benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin, as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are also used as antidepressants. However, while Xanax may have some success in managing panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder, these drugs also come with nasty side effects, including dizziness, insomnia and memory issues. Understandably, not all anxiety patients agree to take anti-anxiety prescription drugs, and have chosen a more natural, plant-based route. Step forward CBD.
How CBD differs from other anxiety medication
The key reason why CBD is an intriguing treatment for anxiety is that it functions with different mechanisms than benzos and SSRIs. There remain limitations to CBD research, however studies have shown that CBD suppresses the stress hormone cortisol via the endocannabinoid system, and that it helps to restore the balance in the brain between inhibition and excitation. Excessive excitation can cause anxiety, and in some cases epileptic seizures.
It is important that inhibitory neurotransmitters are well expressed in the brain to keep the balance. In anxiety patients, there is often an absence of gamma-Aminobutryric acid (GABA), which is known to reduce excitation in the brain. However, taking CBD can help to increase the concentration of GABA in the brain, and in doing so relieve general anxiety and manage panic attacks. CBD achieves this by altering GABA-A receptors so that GABA neurotransmitters can join with them more easily.
The process of boosting GABA via CBD is more natural than other anti-anxiety treatments, which look to block various natural processes. For example, SSRIs stop the brain from reabsorbing serotonin.
Why CBD is a safe form of cannabis for mental health
Most of the cannabis press in recent decades has focussed on how the herb causes mental health problems due to the powerful psychoactive effects. However, the opposite is the case with CBD, which has demonstrated huge promise for anxiety, depression, psychosis, schizophrenia and more.
This is because CBD is non-psychoactive and is not responsible for any of the psychoactive high provided by cannabis – that honor goes to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, the vast majority of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are non-psychotropic and non-intoxicating; but CBD is usually the most dominant compound in the herb. But the growth of hemp-based CBD e-liquid and vape oil, CBD edibles, CBD syrup and CBD pain creams to name a few is thanks to the low psychoactive nature of the hemp plant. Hemp contains only traces of THC, but much greater concentrations of CBD – this is very rare for a cannabis sativa strain, although growers have looked to breed more CBD-dominant plants of late.
CBD as a specific treatment for social anxiety
Social anxiety and public speaking anxiety are common forms of anxiety that can seriously stifle personal progression. The inability to interact comfortably with others and the struggle to make a good account of yourself when under the spotlight is a mental block, and one that feels impossible to overcome after years of being burdened by it. However, it’s important to remember that there are chemical imbalances contributing to that mental fuzziness, and it’s not merely a figment of the imagination.
Therefore, with the right treatment, it’s possible to calm anxiety – and this is what Italian scientists have shown, in an experiment involving simulated public speaking tests. The study was conducted in 2011f, and split participants with anxiety into two groups, one receiving a large 600mg dose of CBD, and the other a placebo. None of those taking part had ever tried anxiety medication before, making them ideal candidates for the investigation.
The results showed that the group given CBD enjoyed “reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort” when performing their speech, and that the alert for their anticipatory speech was also significantly decreased. The placebo group underperformed the CBD group in all of these categories.
Making the most of CBD to improve quality of life
If there’s one positive from anxiety, it’s that the condition can be quite predictable, and therefore with some mindfulness, fairly easy to combat – it’s more manageable than chronic pain at least, which can flare up suddenly. However, to fully capitalize on the soothing and anxiety-relieving properties of CBD, an effective method of consumption is needed. CBD gummy bears are good for keeping the mind generally calmer throughout the day and the body more at ease, but not so useful at treating panic attacks, which are an acute form of mental pain.
Here, a fast-absorption method such as vaporizing is of more use, as large concentrations of cannabinoids can be inhaled into the bloodstream in a short space of time. It takes just a couple of minutes for the relief to start setting in, which will then last for a couple of hours.
Therefore, it’s even possible to take CBD before a pressure meeting, speech or social engagement, to help relax and become more functionable – many people choose alcohol to loosen up, but CBD is non-intoxicating and keeps you in full cognitive control. Simply work out when your anxiety is going to strike and supplement your system with calming CBD.